NASCAR drivers throw punches live on air after all-star race

Ricky Stenhouse Jr swiped at rival Kyle Busch following a crash during the second lap

James Liddell
Monday 20 May 2024 15:10 BST
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Ricky Stenhouse Jr threw a right jab at Kyle Busch after the all-star race
Ricky Stenhouse Jr threw a right jab at Kyle Busch after the all-star race (NASCAR on FOX/YouTube)

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A heated exchange between two NASCAR drivers broke out into a full-blown fist fight live on television following an early crash in the race.

Officials quickly intervened after Ricky Stenhouse Jr, 36, punched Kyle Busch, 39, after the all-star event at North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina on Sunday.

Busch, who’s 13th in the overall NASCAR Cup standings, was forcibly spun out by Stenhouse Jr on the second lap leading to his vehicle colliding head on with a wall.

The ruckus ensued after Busch, who was still sporting full overalls, confronted Stenhouse Jr about having “wrecked” him, bringing with him a television film crew.

After some verbal sparring, Stenhouse Jr threw a swift right jab, connecting with Busch’s jaw as fireworks popped in the background.

Kyle Busch was on the receiving end of the punch after Sunday’s NASCAR race
Kyle Busch was on the receiving end of the punch after Sunday’s NASCAR race (Getty Images)

He then proceeded to throw another punch with his right hand, before forcibly pushing Busch away, causing him to trip over a tyre.

Race officials and members of both teams rushed towards the duo in an attempt to ease tensions.

Busch was then grabbed by a man sporting a grey sweater and believed to be a crew member for Stenhouse Jr, which resulted in the NASCAR driver also throwing a punch of his own.

“I felt like Kyle and I have always raced each other really hard back to the Nationwide Series when we were competing for wins week in and week out, never had any issues,” Stenhouse Jr said on Fox after the fight.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr said tensions between the duo have risen of late
Ricky Stenhouse Jr said tensions between the duo have risen of late (Getty)

He claims that tensions between the drivers have flared since beating Busch at Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

“I wrecked him one time at Daytona and he’s kind of badmouthed me ever since then,” he added.

Stenhouse Jr said that he usually got on OK with Busch off the race track. But the latest incident behind the wheel combined with perceived waning form caused Busch’s fiery confrontation, he said.

“So, definitely just built up frustration with how he runs his mouth all the time about myself but I know he’s frustrated because he doesn’t run near as good as he used to and I understand that,” Stenhouse Jr added.

After taking tenth place, he appeared to goad Busch by parking in his pit stall after the race, and told TV cameras that he’d be waiting for him.

Joey Logano led 199 of 200 laps to clinch the NASCAR race after starting in pole position.

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